Reading and Writing: Looking Beyond the Self (LIT4375.01)

Paul La Farge

This writing class will depart from the premise that other people and other lives are interesting, and that it is possible to write about them in fiction. We’ll consider some techniques for gathering knowledge about the world beyond the self, from audio recording to interviews to book research. (Our ability to conduct in-person interviews will likely be curtailed by the pandemic, but we’ll find other ways of talking with people.) We’ll also look at how some writers have made use of this kind of knowledge in their work. Finally, we’ll consider questions related to appropriation: are there circumstances under which a writer should refrain from using other people’s lives as material?

Learning Outcomes:

Delivery Method: Entirely remote (synchronous)
Prerequisites:Permission of instructor. Students should submit a writing sample to by Thursday, November 12. Students will be notified of acceptance into the class on Tuesday, November 17. All students may apply for multiple 4000-level Reading and Writing Courses in the same term, but, once accepted, may only enroll in one 4000-level Reading and Writing course per term.
Corequisites: Please note that students enrolled in this course are required to attend Poetry at Bennington and Literature Evening events on Wednesday nights at 7:00 PM. 
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
T/F 4:10PM - 6:00PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 15
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: All courses , Entirely Remote , Literature